Not quite as secret


The U.S. government spends so much money that it’s difficult to comprehend. I create interactive graphics to make it easier to follow the money. My sense is that U.S. agencies that manage Cuba projects are more transparent than they were in around 2009 when I first started looking at these projects.
Agencies still shield some programs from public view, but general information about dozens and dozens of projects is readily available. The graphic entitled “It’s all in the fine print,” below, illustrates that point.

One of the most important recipients of Cuba project funds is the National Democratic Institute in Washington, D.C. The NED described its goals in a 2015 spending record showing receipt of $6.5 million:

NED will use these funds to make grants to support independent, democratic civil society activists on the island, cultivate the analytical capacity of existing civil society actors, and promote greater knowledge of and adherence to international norms laid out in regional and global multilateral institutions regarding political, civic and fundamental human rights, including freedoms of association and expression. NED works with a broad, bipartisan coalition of partner organizations located in the United States, Europe, and Latin America that provide direct technical, material and financial support to independent, democratic activists in Cuba. NED also works to provide support directly to civil society partners on island, thus ensuring that the largest possible amount of NED assistance goes directly to democratic activists. Where appropriate and feasible, the project will also facilitate external travel by Cubans to increase their capacity.

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